First I must give credit to a new book which seems to be what I've been looking for ever since I read Antony Beevor's Stalingrad about 13 years ago. This is Armageddon in Stalingrad by David M. Glantz and Jonathan M. House.
By using four variations of this map and the orders of battle provided in the book I think I can refight the advance by two Kampfgruppen of 24th Panzer Division over 4 days. The main thrust followed the line of the Elshanka River and the parallel railway line, and then moved Northwards to attack Stalingrad Station Nr 2 and on to the bridge over the Tsaritsa River. At the "Rapid Fire!" scale of 1 figure represents 15 men, and one vehicle represents 5, I'll probably need 600-800 figures overall. However vehicles are a bit easier as, by this stage both German and Russian tank formations were down to very small numbers of operational vehicles.
|The top brass of 24th Panzer Division use a hasty meeting|
at the bombed out brick factory entrance to plan their attack along the Elshanka ravine
My plan is to halve all the Rapid Fire! distances so direct fire for AT, for example, will be 24 inches. If that represents 800-1000 metres then a six feet square table could accommodate about a 3 kilometre square battle area. I expect my table to be expandable beyond that if and when I get the resources to do bigger games. This also seems about right for the amount of table space taken up by a 40 figure battalion. Each Kampfgruppe in this scenario is loosely what I'd call "brigade strength".
Now on to those buildings. Don't know about you but I generally need something to galvanise my ideas into action. If several favourable factors come together it gets me going. The figures had been sitting in their packets since Spring while I spent day after day painting 2D pictures for the art exhibition which usually punctuates my Summer. I always promise myself some time off when that is over. Purely by coincidence, the weekend it finished Scott presented his eccentric father-in-law with a blast from his childhood in the form of two sets of Linka moulds. Here's a useful website for those not familiar with it linkaworld
And here is a photo of some of the moulds
I'm not sure how folks make good looking actual buildings with this stuff (!) but I just got stuck in and fitted it together to make pleasing shaped ruins without any real plan and all the while contemplating how little groups of 12mm figures might fit in. It seemed no good trying to model typical Stalingrad buildings as the Linka shapes are restrictive and I didn't have many window openings. I've got plenty of time to make high rise ruined apartments from foam core board later. So here are a selection of photos, starting off with some primary coats of black, grey and cream spray paints
|The recent warm weather provided ideal conditions for making and painting|
building models outdoors
I then used acrylic colours to provide basic ground work and "weathered" all the walls with various tones of dry-brushing.
|Also shown is my "stay-wet" palette for acrylic painting.|
Pretty essential in those temperatures.
All the Linka units are mounted on old 3.5 inch square computer disks, of which I have a lot redundant. I thought this would allow me plenty of variations that would fit a pattern of housing blocks or streets.
Here I made a coherent attempt at uniformity by making 3 disk/bases to try to represent a factory with rubble covered machinery and a few girders remaining from the collapsed roof.
|Much to the Duchess' dismay I still collect any old thing that might be useful in|
miniature building - some old plumbing bits and bolts
came in handy for this "machinery" - steel rolling mill perhaps?
|Here is a closer view of the Linka brickwork. I think it's menat to be OO/HO railway |
scale but it seems fine to me for larger bricks or blocks in 1:144 scale
I tried to make some resemble houses
And then there were some bases just of low wall and rubble.
The rubble piles generally started off with a small load of excess stones brushed from the tarmac on my drive. Then I added broken bits of Linka detail, that was all applied with a mixture of paint, filler and PVA glue. I had put the stones through an old plastic kitchen sieve which I use specially for modelling, that produced a fine grey grit and it proved really good to sprinkle on the PVA-saturated rubble mixture. When completely dry shake of the excess and it's ready for the spray paints. After that the rough surface is a dream to dry brush to represent a coating of dust and small stones over the upper surfaces.
While I had my bits boxes open it seemed a pity to just stick with Linka, so I looked for some suitably shaped objects to make some industrial looking buildings. Here is a general view at the grey spray stage.
Above and below is some kind of equipment assembly hall, maybe including administrative offices on upper levels. The core of it is a 1:72 scale ruin from a Matchbox vehicle kit and at each end the plastic casing from a defunct calculator - excellent office windows at 1:144 scale! A taller extra chimney makes it seem to soar above the little people. At the left hand end that crane-like object is a plastic strap hook from an old bag. I do like my recycling......cover it with rubble and who'd know?
I then made some foundry-like buildings with thicker chimneys and very solid structure. You can see part of one on the left above and here is the other side of it below, together with a smaller one. Both are, as is my habit, made with all sorts of bits of wood and plastic moulding from the bits box. I'll admit the left hand one might be at home on a futuristic Warthammer 40K battlefield but I'd been looking for an excuse to use those plastic curved 90 degree corner plates for years! It was certainly fun making the simulated metal and concrete and liberally applying the rubble and rusting girder effects.
I'll finish this post with some overall views of what I've done so far. I guess I'll need at least 5 times this area of ruins to make a game feel right.
A word on the overall base. This is just part of a collection of brown terrain tiles I made for a WW2 desert game last year, so no roads modeled in it. However, I think it's good enough to get me started and in the longer term (when I have space again!) I'll model more tiles with the required Stalingrad ravines, trenches, bomb craters etc.